Loss and Legacy

Hello Lovelies,

This year has been had a much better start to it for me, than the entire of last year. However, sadly it has also seen the loss of a number of great patrons of the Arts, most recently with the passing of the Pulitzer Prize winning author of “To Kill a Mockingbird”, Harper Lee.

With the passing of so many prominent people, in such a short length of time, it got me thinking. There is no denying that the loss of these people is not only a great loss and source of sadness and grief for their friends and family, but a loss felt by a worldwide community. What these people leave behind for us to cherish forever is one of the greatest gifts of all. Their legacy, the great things they have done, their contribution to the Arts and to society.

So for this post, I would like to take a moment to honour these great patrons of the Arts that have passed in 2016, the writers, the musicians, the actors and highlight that even though their loss will be forever felt, their legacy will be forever in existence. This is no way a complete list, just a few people who have left their mark on the world. Some of these people were very well known at the time of their passing, some not as well known but all have left their mark on the world, left behind their legacy.

David Bowie (8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016)

Born as David Robert Jones in Brixton, London, England. David Bowie has undoubtedly left behind quite a legacy. Musician, actor, record producer, he has been called both a “star and an icon” and a “pioneer of glam rock.” The news of his passing resulted in worldwide mourning, his contribution to music, theatre and film will live on forever. This is his legacy.

For more information on David Bowie visit Wikipedia or his Official Website

Harper Lee (April 28, 1926 – February 19, 2016)

The passing of author Harper Lee is what prompted me to write this post, as I said above. Prior to the release of Lee’s latest work “Go Set a Watchman”, I did not know much about the Pulitzer Price winning author and did a little research and reflection on the impact of her most famous work “To Kill a Mockingbird” which you can read in my post “Best Novel of the 20th Century”.  Born as Nelle Harper Lee in Monroeville, Alabama, she was much more than an American Novelist. Her most famous work “To Kill a Mockingbird”, which was actually her first published novel, will always be listed among the greatest novels of all-time, a story of racism and the attitudes of adults in the deep south as seen through the eyes of children, the character of Atticus Finch, the level and fair-minded lawyer who defends the falsely accused Tom Robinson. “To Kill a Mockingbird” will ensure that her her name will forever be immortalised in history as an accomplished author and great contributor to the world of literature. This is her legacy.

Read more about Harper Lee’s life on Wikipedia or on her Official Page

Vilmos Zsigmond (June 16, 1930 – January 1, 2016)

This is one name you may not have heard of and the passing of this person was not widely publicised in the media. You may however have heard of films such as Deliverance (1972), The Long Goodbye (1973), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) or perhaps The Witches of Eastwick (1987) or Assassins (1995). All these films (and many more) were the work of Hungarian-born American cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, who has been listed as one of the top ten most influential cinematographers in history. He has been awarded and nominated for Oscars, BAFTA, Emmy Awards as well as being awarded three life-time achievement awards from the American Society of Cinematographers, Manaki Brothers Film Festival and the Cannes Film Festival. Vilmos Zsigmond may not be a name that most people recognise and his passing may not of been trending on Twitter or Facebook, but through his work in the film industry, his work,  his films, his art will forever live on. The contribution he has made to the art of cinematography will forever endure. This is his legacy.

Learn more about his life and work from Wikipedia

Frank Armitage  (5 September 1924 – 4 January 2016)

Another name on this list that may not be familiar, however you may have seen Frank’s work in many Walt Disney Films such as Lady and the Tramp, Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty, Mary Poppins and The Jungle Book. You see, Frank Armitage was an Australian-born American painter and muralist who worked for Walt Disney for a considerable part of his career, painting the backgrounds for some of Disney’s most notable feature-length films. Not only can his work be seen on film, but his work also features in some of the world’s Disney theme parks. Frank’s work will forever life on,giving a world of life and colour to the wonderful creations of Disney, brightening the worlds of children for years to come. This is his legacy.

Learn more about his life and work from Wikipedia

Otis Clay  (February 11, 1942 – January 8, 2016)

Otis Clay is one you might have heard of, he was an American R & B and Soul singer and inductee of the Blues Hall of Fame. Otis will probably be remembered for one of his most popular singles “The Only Way is Up”, click here to refresh your memory. In his lifetime Otis had many chart-topping hits and received a significant number of awards and nominations. Otis may longer be in this world, but his music forever will be. This is his legacy.

Learn more about him from Wikipedia or from his Official Page

 

Alan Rickman  (21 February 1946 – 14 January 2016)

Earlier this year, the world mourned the loss of veteran actor and director Alan Rickman. Alan played many different roles throughout his career but I will always remember him by the role that I grew up with him playing, the professor of potions at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry -Severus Snape. Now I’m not here to argue whether the character was a villian or hero, this is not the time or the post to argue that, I am however acknowledging the depth Alan brought to this character, he brought this character out of the pages of books, the minds of readers and brought our favourite professor to hate (and sometimes love) to life on the screen. No matter how small or significant of a role Alan played, he always performed at his best, giving it his all. His contribution to film will never be forgotten, the characters he brought to life forever present. Even though I have seen many different films that Alan was in, for me I will forever see him as Professor Severus Snape, the lonely heartbroken boy who became a rather complicated man. Professor Severus Snape will life on forever through Alan’s magnificent portrayal. This is his legacy.

Learn more about his life and career on Wikipedia

Now I put forth these questions: what will your legacy be? What will be the mark you leave on the world? It doesn’t matter whether if your legacy is something to leave with your family and friends or something for the world, whatever it might be make sure you live your life to the fullest, you only get one chance after all…

Enjoy,

KK

© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2016). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

*Facts and information compiled from Wikipedia

 

Shifting Time

Hello Lovelies,

What an interesting week it has been! I’ve had a major breakthrough with my current WIP and I’m right on track with my word-count goal for this month! I also went to a sort of flea market (I suppose you would call it) and discovered a few literary treasures! Nearly all of them are in Hungarian, however I found one children’s book written in German from 1938 (prior to the outbreak of WWII in 1939), a Hungarian translation of Jerome K. Jerome’s “Three Men in a Boat”, a Hungarian translation of August Strindberg’s short story “Historical Miniatures” from the early 1900s and the most favourite of my findings -a translated copy of Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Masque of the Red Death”.

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A German children’s book from 1938
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“Three Men in a Boat” by Jerome K. Jerome
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“Historical Miniatures” A Short Story by Swedish writer August Stringberg, published early 1900s

I didn’t believe it to be real when I first saw it, it’s not a first edition by any means (the short story originally was published in 1842 in a magazine) and this edition is in the form of a small booklet and was printed in 1919. From doing a little research, it seems this booklet was one of 12 translated “classics” that were offered for sale in Budapest. Each short story included both the original story, int he language it was first published (i.e. English, French etc.) as well as the Hungarian translation. Being published in 1919, this would have been during the time when Hungary was reeling from the aftermath of WWI and depending on the exact date of publication, could have been during the time of short-lived Hungarian Soviet Republic or perhaps it was published in late 1919 when the Kingdom of Hungary was reestablished. Hungary was a very unsettled country in the aftermath of WWI, so to find this classic as a relatively intact bilingual edition (all pages are there but damaged around the edges) buried in a pile of books ranging from the early 1900s to the present was quite a find!

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A Bilingual edition of Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Masque of the Red Death”. This edition published in 1919.

This little market adventure has also given me a little inspiration for my current WIP and I can feel a piece of the story falling into place. There’s nothing like immersing yourself in history in order to gain some inspiration and in keeping with that theme I also visited the Budapest History Museum in Buda Castle. There was a section of one of the permanent exhibitions that included furniture and items from the early 1900s, perfect inspiration for my current WIP! Looking at the family dining table, the writing desk and the other bits and pieces, I began to imagine József and his surroundings, the things that he did, where he might sit to eat his supper, the possibilities and imaginings are limitless.

I’ve also changed the opening of my WIP, in order to have a better lead in to the main narrative. This will also help to link József’s story with Rose’s, which actually occurs some years after. By making this change, I’ve found that the story is beginning to flow a lot more freely, the words are coming without me having to try and force them. So it seems at this point that I have made the right decision.

“Rules such as “Write what you know,” and “Show, don’t tell,” while doubtlessly grounded in good sense, can be ignored with impunity by any novelist nimble enough to get away with it. There is, in fact, only one rule in writing fiction: Whatever works, works.”
Tom Robbins

So for now, I’m going to go with Tom Robbins’ advice and stick with whatever works! And as long as it is working, I’ll keep going with it!

As a treat for reading this far I have a little sneak peek into some of the changes that I’ve made, remember this is still very much a first draft and who knows how much of it I’ll actually delete before I’m satisfied with it!

Enjoy,

KK

József sat in the small chair next to the girl’s bed, matching each small, short breath she took with his own, counting. She was still breathing, still alive. At least that was some sort of reassurance, perhaps he had found her in time and had not completely failed her altogether.

It was the early hours of the morning, that moment between night and day, the moment when the light of day is trying to chase away the darkness of the night and there was much darkness to be chased away on this day. His shoulders and back ached, he had no notion of how many hours he had been sitting in that chair, but he knew the chair seemed a lot softer when he first sat. Yet still, he continued to sit, despite the assurances of the Sisters that they would keep vigil and contact him should there be any changes. He couldn’t help but feel responsible for the girl, so he stayed. The shoulders of his solid frame, slumped slightly with exhaustion. Despite his obvious exhaustion, his body emanated a sense of strength, physically, mentally, emotionally, coming from within. He wasn’t a young man, he was old enough to be the girl’s father and if it wasn’t for the vast differences in their physical appearance, it was surely what this scene appeared to be – a father, who was beyond exhausted, keeping vigil at his daughter’s side, hoping that through mere strength and stubbornness he could grant her the strength to fight and the will to live.  

 

© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2016). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Grey – somber, drab, neutral, dull

grey flickr cc iggyshoot
Image Courtesy Flickr CC user Iggyshoot

Hello Lovelies,

Quite a while back I admitted to having read the Fifty Shades trilogy. I’m sorry. The only excuse I can offer for this is that every one was talking about it and I felt left out.

My first impression when I started reading the trilogy, is that it was a little boring and seemed more like a journal recount than a narrative and a poorly written one at that. Whilst the story E. L. James was trying to tell, had a few redeeming qualities and if it were worked on and edited a little longer it might not have been so bad. Whilst I admit that I do not have perfect written (or spoken) grammar and quite often make mistakes in my own writing, the errors in this trilogy that actually made it to print were quite frustrating.

So why did I read the entire trilogy you ask? Well, the simple answer is this, no matter how poorly written it might have been, I don’t like leaving things unfinished, including book series. So naturally when Grey (the first book of the series rewritten from Christian’s POV) was published, I had no choice but to purchase that one as well and I have been putting off reading it until now.

After finishing book 8 in the main series of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, I told myself I couldn’t put it off any longer. I tried to convince myself that E. L. James must now be a more experienced writer and after the movie deal was made for the series, she’s probably laughing all the way to the bank and therefore can probably afford (or be assigned) the best editors in the country. In my work up to reading the book, I also told myself it might actually be interesting to see the story from Christian Grey’s POV. Whilst I haven’t gotten up to any of the “saucy” parts of the book yet, my first impressions of this rewrite are very similar to my first impressions of the original – somber, drab, neutral, dull -coincidentally these words are all synonyms for grey. I’m also finding that by reading the same book from a different POV it’s actually ruining the character of Christian Grey, before he was a little mysterious and you were trying to figure him out, now he’s a bit of a whining little bitch with the, “OMG don’t touch me” crap. Like I said though, I can’t leave things unfinished, so it looks like I’m going to have to trudge my way through it and hope that I find a few redeeming qualities. For one, I having come across any major grammatical errors or annoying typos.

With my own writing, sometimes as I reread what I have written previously in preparation to continue, I find that I have also fallen into the same style of recount rather than a narrative and I am often going back and rewriting sections in an attempt to eliminate this. A well written story is not a he said, she said, blow-by-blow recount of events, it needs to immerse the reader into the story, allowing the reader to experience the character’s surroundings, feel their emotions and see what they see.

 “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”
― Anton Chekhov

I can only hope that as the stories of my characters and my writing develops, I am able to do them justice and not fall into the “recount” trap. However, in considering that I am most often able to notice when I have drifted into that style, it gives me at least some hope that I will be able to do the stories of my characters justice.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and would like to wish you all a happy new year, may 2016 be a year of working towards the fulfillment of dreams!

Enjoy,

KK

© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

“Best Novel of the 20th Century”

Hello Lovelies,

This week saw the release of Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman . Whilst it has received mixed reviews, I’ve decided that it will be one to add to my TBR list and I’ll make up my own mind.

With all the media attention over the release of Go Set a Watchman and reading To Kill a Mockingbird in high school, I naturally headed over to Wikipedia to find out a little more about its author, Harper Lee.

In high school, To Kill a Mockingbird was one of the novels we read for english class, as well as watching the 1962 film adaptation. As I’ve said before, I was the kind of student who loved when it was the time of term when we did novel studies, the novel we were meant to read over the term was usually read in just a few nights and To Kill a Mockingbird was no exception. I can’t even remember what grade I was in at the time, year 10 perhaps, but I knew nothing about what the novel was about or how it was once (and still is) considered to be rather controversial in the themes and topics it addresses until we began our novel study. Needless to say, I finished the book quite quickly, as always and enjoyed both the film and the novel, but that’s the last I really thought about it.

When I saw in my newsfeed that Harper Lee was releasing another novel that in fact was part of a series that To Kill a Mockingbird was intended to be, I found myself intrigued as to what type of person Harper Lee was. With the quick answers that the internet provides us with these days as opposed to when I was in high school (we had internet, but with the download limits, the internet was strictly for necessary school work), I googled Harper Lee without hesitation.

Coming across the Wikipedia page, I was a little surprised to find that Harper Lee was a woman, I have no idea why, but for some reason I always thought that the Mockingbird author was male. I was even more surprised to find that To Kill a Mockingbird was 89 year old Lee’s only published novel until the release of Go Set a Watchman. I guess I just assumed that with the success of To Kill a Mockingbird, in both novel and film, that it would just be one in a long list of works, but I was wrong. In fact, according to Wikipedia, in 1999 To Kill a Mockingbird was voted the “Best Novel of the 20th Century” in a poll by the Library Journal. Whilst Lee has written of pieces, Mockingbird was actually her only published novel until the release of Go Set a Watchman. 

I was also intrigued to read about the semi-autobiographical nature of To Kill a Mockingbird and the connection between Harper Lee and Truman Capote. It is also rumoured that this latest publication is actually part of a trilogy, which would be interesting to see. At the ripe age of 89 will Harper Lee release a third novel after stating that she would never publish another novel after Mockingbird?

On another note, I’ve written a few times about my introduction to the Outlander series recently, I’m now onto the second book in the series and I only have one word to describe Diana Gabaldon’s work….. AMAZING! Do yourselves a favour and add the series to your TBR list if you haven’t already. As for Go Set a Watchman, I’m waiting until later in the year to order both books in hardcover and reading them one after the other to get a proper feel of them and make up my own mind about Go Set a Watchman, until then I’ll try and ignore the spoilers and media sensation over the “racist” Atticus Finch.

Happy Reading!

Enjoy,

KK

* facts and information on Harper Lee, Go Set a Watchman and To Kill a Mockingbird retrieved from Wikipedia.

© Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within, (2013-2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

I Want to See the World

Hello Lovelies,

I’ve written before about the unique ability books have to transport you anywhere and everywhere. With a good book in hand time, space and distance are not a concern. A well written book has the ability to take you places you’ve longed to visit and also places that you’ve never even thought existed. Whether these literary places actually exist or not is not of concern, in your mind you’ve been to many different places, in many different times in the past, the present and perhaps the distant future.

Even though we have travelled to many different places in our minds, with the help of a good book, sometimes it only leaves you longing for more. Sometimes you still long to experience the “real thing” and the book itself does nothing but spur on your desire to see the world.

You see, last week for my birthday one of my closest friends bought me the first volume of the Outlander series on DVD (thanks Jess!), as she understands my appreciation for a man with a great accent. The books by Diana Gabaldon, that the series is based on, have been on my TBR list for quite some time, but as the list kept increasing I haven’t actually gotten around to reading them. After watching the first few episodes I am totally hooked, but not just on the good looks of the men in kilts and the great accents, but also the setting of the series – the Scottish Highlands.

This got me thinking about other places in the world I would love to explore with my family and I came up with a list of sorts I would like to share with you all. Some of the places on the list are inspired by books, authors and works of fiction, others are there for other reasons which I will attempt to explain.

Salzburg and Vienna, Austria

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Salzburg, Austria                    Image courtesy of Flickr CC Dimitry B.  

These are two places I have longed to visit since I was a little girl and first saw the movie “The Sound of Music”. Of course I loved the musical element to the movie, but I was also in awe of the beautiful locations included in this cinematic classic. I’ve lost count of the number of times I have seen this movie and also the number of hours I have spent on the internet Googling the story of the real Von Trapp family, as well as the locations used in the movie. I also really would love to say, “In the morning, I’m going to Vienna,” just like Captain Von Trapp.

http://www.panoramatours.com/en/salzburg/tour/original-sound-of-music-tour-tour-1a-28/

http://www.austria.info/us/vacation-in-austria/salzburg-intro-2571750.html?gclid=CPCEz6Lyn8YCFVcmvQodq74APA

http://www.aboutvienna.org/sights/sights.php

Scottish Highlands, Scotland

Scottish Highlands. Image courtesy of Flickr CC Kristel Jeuring
Scottish Highlands.
Image courtesy of Flickr CC Kristel Jeuring

I’ve always had a bit of a fascination with Scotland in general, the history, the kilts, the accent, the Loch Ness Monster and of course the beautiful Scottish Highlands. After watching Outlander, my fascination with Scotland has only increased and I would love to be able to explore the region with my family, you can call me sassenach, I won’t take offence.

http://www.visitscotland.com/en-au/destinations-maps/highlands/

Hill Top, Cumbria UK

Hill Top, UK Image courtesy of Flickr CC Yvonne Eijkenduijn
Hill Top, UK
Image courtesy of Flickr CC Yvonne Eijkenduijn

If you’re not familiar with Hill Top, it is the beloved place where Beatrix Potter took inspiration for many of her stories and characters. As a lover of many of the classic Beatrix Potter characters and tales, Hill Top is definitely anothere place I would love to explore in person.

http://www.peterrabbit.com/en/beatrix_potter/lake_district/hill_top

4. Château d’Ussé, France

Image Courtesy of Flickr CC Cristian Bortes
Image Courtesy of Flickr CC Cristian Bortes

Once upon a time, a princess slept for 100 years. The Château d’Ussé provided the inspiration for Charles Perrault’s tale, now commonly known  as Sleeping Beauty. You don’t have to be a writer to appreciation the fact that this picturesque castle was the inspiration for one of the most memorable fairy tales, in fact Charles Perrault is credited with laying the foundations for the development of the entire fairy tale genre.

http://www.chateaudusse.fr/?lang=en

Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre, Buckinghamshire UK

Image courtesy of Flickr CC marcus_jb1973
Image courtesy of Flickr CC marcus_jb1973

Roald Dahl, author of Matilda, The Twits, The Witches, The BFG, James and the Giant Peach and countless other magnificent pieces of literary brilliance. Any lover of literature cannot deny the indelible mark that Roald Dahl has left on the literary world. I’ve recently began sharing some of Roald Dahl’s brilliance with my seven year old daughter and my boys love watching Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the original film with Gene Wilder. I cannot wait to hopefully explore this wonderful museum one day and even though the webpage says the museum is aimed at 6-12 year olds, I’m pretty sure the adults would love to explore this great destination as well.

http://www.roalddahl.com/museum

Bran Castle, Transylvania Romania

Image courtesy of Flickr CC Voyages Lambert
Image courtesy of Flickr CC Voyages Lambert

Bram Stoker’s gothic novel, Dracula, was inspired by the legends told of Prince Vlad III, known as Vlad the Impaler (Vlad Tepes), who is said to have lived in Bran Castle. I love places that have a story to tell and Bran Castle is definitely one of those places, perhaps not the same story Bram Stoker had to tell, but a very interesting story nonetheless.

http://www.turism.ro/english/transylvania.php

http://www.bran-castle.com/

Hans Christian Andersen Museum, Copenhagen Denmark

Image courtesy of Flickr CC Eugene Phoen
Image courtesy of Flickr CC Eugene Phoen

Having grown up with many of Hans Christian Andersen’s beloved fairy tales, such as The Little Mermaid, Thumbelina, The Emperor’s New Clothes and so on, visiting the childhood home of such a magnificent writer definitely had to make my list of places to see.

http://museum.odense.dk/en/museums/hans-christian-andersen-museum

Venice, Italy

Image courtesy of Flickr CC David Henderson
Image courtesy of Flickr CC David Henderson

Like I’ve said, I love a place with a story to tell and I think Venice would have many great stories to reveal from its past. As the setting for Shakespeare’s Othello, I believe Venice would offer a wonderful world of inspiration and history which anyone could enjoy, although I have heard that it does smell a little.

http://www.venice-tourism.com/en/visit-venice.html

Hungary

Vajdahunyad Castle Hungary. Image courtesy of Flickr CC Bruno Girin
Vajdahunyad Castle Hungary.
Image courtesy of Flickr CC Bruno Girin.

Those of you who know me, would understand why the entire country of Hungary has been included on this list, in fact you might even be asking why it wasn’t first on the list. Well, perhaps I was saving the best for last or something. Hungary is a country steeped in tradition with many beautiful sites, castles and rich history, making it an ideal place of inspiration for just about any writer. In fact, as I’ve already said, Bram Stoker’s gothic novel Dracula was inspired by the stories and legends of Vlad the Impaler, from Transylvania. Transylvania at the time was actually part of Hungary. The country of Hungary has a rich and colourful history and the legends and fairytales of each region are fascinating. The legends of vampires is often said to have originated with the legends and stories of Vlad the Impaler and Elizabeth Bathory (Báthory Erzsébet), more commonly known as Count and Countess Dracula, two separate people in Hungarian history, whose lives gave fuel to the legends and myths of vampires.

http://gotohungary.com/?utm_source=www.gotohungary.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=redirects

IAs you may have noticed, I am very much a lover of history and I’m always interested in the stories and history of a particular place or location. Some of the locations on this list are purely for ‘fan girl’ reasons and others are for reasons of inspiration, exploration and adventure. This is by no means a definitive list, but simply a short list of some of the places I would love to explore.

Now it’s over to you, what ‘bookish’ places would you love to visit?

Enjoy,

KK

© Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within, (2013-2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Through Time and Space

“Read, read, read. Read everything – trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it.
Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.”
― William Faulkner

Hello Lovelies,

As the above quote suggests, I have been reading quite a lot lately. I’m calling it research and not procrastination of course! I’ve been reading a lot of romance novels, as this seems to be the genre that Lonely Hearts fits into. As you probably know, when it comes to the romance genre, there is an awful lot of trash out there and I have read quite a number of them it seems while browsing some of the free e-books available on Amazon.

“There are books of which the backs and covers are by far the best parts.”
― Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist

Sometimes I feel as though I am reading the first draft of a novel with some of these e-books, complete with missing sentences and horrible spelling mistakes, but I can’t help myself, if I start reading something, I must finish it, despite how rubbish it may be. Unfortunately for some of the authors, their story idea is quite good, but not fully developed and the story ends abruptly without any real answers and no sign of a sequel, that’s sometimes one of the most frustrating things. I think to myself, if only they had gotten an editor (or a better one) or spend longer developing their ideas then perhaps their novel wouldn’t be the half-assed crap it turned out to be.

“The first draft of anything is shit.”
― Ernest Hemingway

However, occasionally I am pleasantly surprised by some of them and I even discover myself a new author to follow. Shelly Thacker is one of those authors and while she is not a newcomer, she was not an author I had previously heard of until I came across the first book in Shelly’s Stolen Brides series, Forever His. Shelly is an Historical Romance author, whose work has previously been published through Avon and Dell. According to Shelly’s website, she is now an Indie author, publishing her own books with the help of digital media platforms, something which I admire.

Now, back to the book. Forever His, like all of Shelly Thacker’s books it seems, is an Historical Romance – but with a twist. Here’s the synopsis straight from her website:

Stolen Brides: Forever His by Shelly Thacker

Image courtesy of shellythacker.com

On New Year’s Eve, she tumbles 700 years back in time–and into the bed of a darkly dangerous knight.

Sir Gaston de Varennes wanted a docile bride who would fit into his plans for vengeance and justice, but a trick of time finds him married to a thoroughly modern American lady who turns his castle, his life, and his heart upside down. Will her desperate secret tear them apart after only a few bittersweet weeks of stolen passion — or will they conquer mistrust, treachery, and time itself to discover a love that spans the centuries?

I very much enjoy historical fiction, I like the idea of there being some truth behind the fiction. Perhaps this is why Rose and Thomas’ story came to me in such a way (in such a time). The twists and turns in the plot of Forever His had me totally hooked and kept me guessing. I just had to keep reading, even in the wee hours of the morning, when I really should have been sleeping…. or writing. There is really only one complaint I have, I want to know what happens next to Gaston and his American bride! That’s no fault of the author though, the story ended quite well and probably when it should have, but I always want to know what happens after the “Happily Ever After”, I’m the same with movies as well.

Even though Forever His is the first book of the Stolen Brides series, judging by the synopsis of the other books in the series, they follow the stories of different characters.

“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.”
― J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

I really enjoyed the twist in the historical aspect of Forever His, as well as the interesting historical aspects in the story. Shelly’s details and descriptions of scenes and characters, transported me to medieval France, not only describing the visual aspects but also the smell and feel of the world that she has so carefully created.

Perhaps I am totally behind in my discovery of Shelly Thacker, perhaps everyone has already heard of her, but for me she is definitely an author I will be following from now on.

And now my lovely followers, I have another small excerpt from Lonely Hearts for you all, remember it is still the first draft, so be kind.

Enjoy,

KK

Over the next few hours as Lillian helped me to get ready. I started to get to know her. Lillian was probably in her mid-thirties. She seemed to be kind and caring and had a wonderful sense of humour. I discovered that she was a woman of many talents, not only did she perform the usual duties of an assistant, such as making appointments, typing various business related correspondence, organising meetings and what not, she also had an impeccable talent for styling hair and accurately guessing a woman’s sizing just from a glance. It seems before picking up the dress and shoes that met Thomas’ requirements, Lillian had casually walked past József’s shop and from the quick glance she had, she accurately guessed my dress and shoe size, her accuracy was unbelievable. I couldn’t help feeling a pinch of jealousy towards Lillian though, this woman had the opportunity to see Thomas every day, she probably knew more about his day-to-day life than most people, perhaps even his family. As Lillian made the final touches on my hair and make-up, I pushed those feelings aside and focused on the exciting evening that was planned for me. Then for the first time I could remember in a long time, I allowed myself to get a little bit excited about something, well, maybe more than a little. Again my thoughts drifted towards the different possibilities of the evening’s plans. Thoughts of him grasping my hand and kissing it sent waves of awareness through my body. I momentarily allowed myself to be lost in my little daydream, imagining the hardness of his body brushing up against mine as we dance, his strong body framing mine as he leads me effortlessly around a dance floor…

“Rosie, Rose, ROSIE!” Lillian’s voice shook me out of my thoughts, back into the now. “I’m sorry Lillian, what did you say?” She let out a dramatic sigh, “Thinking about something in particular Rosie? Or perhaps you were thinking of someone?” Her smile told me she knew it was someone I was thinking of and exactly who that someone was. “Sorry Lillian, I was miles away.”

“Yes, I noticed, well I’m all done here, what do you think?” I stood carefully not wanting to trip on the bottom of the beautiful sleeveless V-neck silk gown that had been chosen for me. It really was gorgeous, the back was a little risqué and I was thankful that my hair covered the majority of my almost bare back. The dress was in one of my favourite colours, a lovely shade of emerald green colour that was perfectly matched the necklace and earrings that had been delivered earlier that afternoon. Running my hands over the smooth material of the dress, I took a deep breath to calm myself. A mixture of nervousness and excitement surged through me but as I looked more closely into the mirror and nervousness began to take over. My breathing began to quicken and even though I knew I was being silly, thoughts of the teasing and bullying I endured as a child returned to my mind. There they were, despite the makeup, the freckles that covered my face were very clearly visible. What if Thomas didn’t like freckles, I’m sure he saw them the first time we met, but what if it’s something he wanted covered, something he found to be unattractive in a woman. Lillian must have noticed the rising panic in my eyes, “What’s wrong, is it the dress, the hair? I have enough time to change your hair if you don’t like it.”

I shook my head, “No it’s nothing, really, I love what you’ve done with my hair.” It was the truth I really did love what she’d done, my hair was down in a wave of honey blonde down my back, parted to the side and held back from my face with a beautiful emerald and diamond hair comb that matched the earrings and necklace.

“Then what is it Rosie?” Lillian prodded. I let out a small sigh, there was no way I could really say this without sounding silly, “It’s just that… um… you can still see my freckles.” Lillian stifled a laugh, I knew it would sound silly, “My girl, your freckles are what makes you, you! Don’t be ashamed of them! Plus, Mr. Heath specifically requested that I go lightly on the makeup he said he wanted to be able to recognise you, so I’m assuming that means freckles and all!”  I smiled at Lillian, feeling a little relieved, I was sure she wouldn’t make up something like that just to make me feel better. Could it be true that Thomas actually liked my freckles? However much I doubted it, in that moment I allowed myself to believe and the excitement for the evening ahead began to trump my nervousness again and I looked at myself in the mirror and nodded in approval, “So we’re happy now are we?” Lillian asked. I gave Lillian a small hug, “Thank you, there’s no way I would have been able to do this without you.”

“What, you couldn’t brush your hair and put on a dress without me?” she joked, “Anyway, it was my pleasure. It’s nice to have some time away from the desk, the schedules and the men in suits. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy my work, but everyone and then a woman needs some ladies’ time.” I nodded knowing a little of what she meant, I cared for József dearly, but I had very few female friends and wondered if perhaps Lillian could become a friend. “So Lillian, what’s next?” It was early evening and I knew soon, my evening with Thomas would be beginning. “Well dear Rosie, first we put on our shoes,” she said holding up a lovely pair of satin peep-toe shoes in the same shade of green as the dress, “then…” there was a knock at the door and which sent my stomach fluttering, “then we answer the door, because I believe your chariot awaits.”

© Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within, (2013-2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Meredith Wild’s Hacker Series

Hello Lovelies,

I’m not usually one to advertise and this is not something I intend to make a habit of, but I’ve been (guiltily) reading Meredith Wild’s Hacker Series and have decided to take part in the Release Blitz for the fourth book in the series Hard Limit. Even though I am not a published author and maybe never will be, I still would like to show my support for fellow writers.

If you even slightly enjoyed the Fifty Shades Trilogy or Sylvia Day’s Crossfire Series, then this is another series for you.

So here it is…

hacker banner

Hard Limit by Meredith Wild (The Hacker Series #4)

Release date: 9th December

Genre: Contemporary Romance

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22474626-hard-limit

hard limit cover

Synopsis

Blake Landon is a man who has everything—wealth, good looks, and the love of Erica Hathaway. The power couple has been through hell and back, and when life has torn them apart, somehow they have always found their way back to each other, more in love and stronger than ever.

Erica has never been more ready to say I do. On the verge of making the ultimate commitment, she uncovers an unsettling chapter of Blake’s history. As she makes peace with her own past and the family who left her behind, she presses Blake to tear down the last walls between them. Determined to know the man he once was, she opens a door to a world beyond her wildest imagination—a world that has her questioning the limits of her own desires.

As danger lurks and dark secrets come to light, will the past destroy their promise of forever?

Meet the Author

mwild

Meredith Wild is a New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of romance. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and three children.  You can find her at www.facebook.com/meredithwild

http://www.meredithwild.com/

https://twitter.com/wildmeredith

All the books in The Hacker Series can be found at: http://meredithwild.com/books

Click on the link below to win a signed set of Hacker Series paperbacks!

Giveaway: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/95cb0282112/

A Great Love Affair

Hello Lovelies,

It’s been another whirlwind week, where again I haven’t had much time for writing of my own choosing. Uni semester has started again and my writing activities have been limited to the writing of online responses and note-taking, as well as the usual teacher-related writing (shared reading programs and what not). Yet, when all seems lost, I have managed to finally start reading Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief. I pretty much stayed away from the hype of The Book Thief when the movie was released, so many people insisted that it was a story that I would enjoy but I didn’t want the hype of the movie to taint my perception of the book. Sometimes I will see the movie before reading the book, so I don’t get frustrated with all the ‘bits’ that Hollywood left out, but in this case I am reading the book before seeing the movie. I bought the book about eight months ago, thinking that it would be a great holiday read, but of course something else caught my eye and The Book Thief was shelved until recently.

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Image Copyright Markus Zusak

Whilst I have only just started reading, one thing I love about this story is the way that Markus Zusak describes how Liesel’s love of books came to be.

****SPOILER ALERT****

Her great love affair stems from one of the darkest moments in her life – the death of her brother and her separation from her mother. Even though Liesel cannot read, the book she ‘stole’ is a symbolic connection to her brother and mother.

Books have the ability to entertain, this much is true and a well written story will keep us entertained and enthralled page after page. However, Zusak has highlighted something which many of us book lovers are already aware of, whether we realise it or not. Through the character of Liesel (the titular book thief), Zusak shows us that books have the ability to elicit many feelings; books have the ability to comfort, to educate, to allow the reader to escape even for a brief moment.

Another story that highlights the importance of books and the ways in which they enrich our lives is The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce.

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Image copyright William Joyce

Whilst this is a children’s picture book, it is a prime example of the way in which books influence and enrich our lives. A world without books, is a world that has lost its way and a world without colour.

If it isn’t already obvious, I am a great lover of books. My own love affair started at a young age, I assume. Like most children, I enjoyed listening to stories, my favourite part of kindergarten was shared reading time and of course, our weekly visits to the library to borrow a book. When I became a capable reader I was enjoyed books by Enid Blyton, particularly this one:

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Image Copyright Enid Blyton

As I grew older my love of books grew and I enjoyed books written by the likes of Paul Jennings, Morris Gleitzman and John Marsden. I was always the kid that finished the class novel in a matter of days, rather than over the course of the term. Even now, I cannot stop myself from getting more and more books. My ‘to read’ pile is continuously increasing and I can’t help but get excited when my children bring home Scholastic Book Club catalogues.

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Image Copyright of Scholastic

My passion for reading is most definitely rubbing off on my children.  There’s no such thing as a ‘quick story’ for my children, multiple books are shared in one sitting, although sometimes my toddler also enjoys eating books (he has his own little stack of books that he is allowed to ‘read’ by himself for this reason). Sharing a story is one of the only times (besides when they are sleeping) that my boys will sit and stop doing laps of the house.

Over the years I have found that my love affair with books and reading has not diminished, in fact it seems that it has only increased, particularly as I began to embrace the writer within.

So now I am off to continue my great love affair by reading a little more of The Book Thief before my bedtime.

Enjoy,

KK

© Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within, (2013-2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.